Objective To detect differences in clinical short term outcome between total abdominal hysterectomy, vaginal hysterectomy and laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hospital of Helsingborg, Sweden.
Sample One hundred-twenty women scheduled for hysterectomy for various indications.
Methods Randomisation into three treatment arms: total abdominal hysterectomy (n= 40); vaginal hysterectomy (n= 40) and laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy (n= 40). During traditional abdominal and vaginal surgery, laparoscopic assistance was kept to a minimum. Substantial number of cases needed volume-reducing manoeuvres due to uterine size.
Main outcome measures Duration of surgery, anaesthesia, time in hospital and recovery time.
Results Mean duration (range) of surgery was significantly longer for laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy compared with vaginal hysterectomy and total abdominal hysterectomy, 102 min (50–175), 81 min (35–135) and 68 min (28–125), respectively. Mean stay in hospital and mean time to recovery was significantly longer for total abdominal hysterectomy compared with vaginal hysterectomy and laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy. The difference between vaginal hysterectomy and laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy was not significant. It was possible to remove uteri under 600 g with all three methods. Four laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomies and one vaginal hysterectomy were converted to open surgery. Reoperation and blood transfusion were required after two vaginal hysterectomies and one laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy. One woman needed blood transfusion after total abdominal hysterectomy.
Conclusions Traditional vaginal hysterectomy proved to be feasible and the faster operative technique compared with vaginal hysterectomy with laparoscopic assistance. The abdominal technique was somewhat faster, but time spent in theatre was not significantly shorter. Abdominal hysterectomy required on average a longer hospital stay of one day and one additional week of convalescence compared with traditional vaginal hysterectomy. Vaginal hysterectomy should be a primary method for uterine removal.